Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) said on Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit crept 8% higher, ahead of Wall Street estimates, fueled by stronger revenues per available room and increased demand for vacation ownership.

The Parsippany, NJ-based company posted net income of $78 million, or 43 cents a share, compared with $73 million, or 40 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding special items, the company earned 46 cents a share, narrowly ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 44 cents.

Revenue for the hotel chain operator, including Wyndham Hotels, Ramada, Days Inn and Super 8, was $937 million, up 3% from $913 million a year ago, slightly missing the Street’s view of $941.98 million.

“We are pleased to report these results, which are further evidence of the strength of our business models and great execution throughout the company,” said Wyndham CEO Stephen P. Holmes. “We delivered strong cash flow and look to continue to deploy free cash flow to create more value for our shareholders in 2011 through acquisitions, share repurchases and dividends.”

The company bought back about 1.6 million shares of its common stock at an average price of $29.20 during the quarter. It repurchased 9.3 million at a price of $25.52 for the full-year.

Earnings in the fourth-quarter were fueled by higher RevPar in the lodging business, strong performance by its vacation ownership unit and a lower effective tax rate. Revenues for the two business segments were each up 9%.

Wyndham sees 2011 revenues in the range of $4 billion to $4.2 billion. Wall Street analysts are looking for sales of $4.1 billion.

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